SOLD 05/22

1960 Mercedes-Benz
300SL Roadster

Exceptional $600,000 factory correct restoration by Hjeltness and presented in one-off color of 'Uranium Yellow', as delivered new to HRH Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, twin sister to the Shah of Iran. Offered with both hard and soft tops, and fitted luggage. A historically important near-perfect example.

  • VIN198042-10-002576
  • Exterior ColorUranium Yellow
  • Interior ColorBlack leather
  • Mileage23524 Kilometers (TMU)
  • EngineAlloy 3.0L inline 6-Cylinder
  • Engine no.189980.10.002627 (alloy replacement)
  • Transmission4-Speed
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2595


1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Chassis no. 198042-10-02576
Engine no. 189980-10-002627 (factory alloy block installed 1962)
Uranium Yellow with Black Leather Interior

-Stunning restoration supported by $600,000 invoices from Hjeltness
-Delivered new to HRH Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, twin sister to the Shah of Iran
-Finished in one-off factory color Uranium Yellow
-Offered with hardtop, soft top, and fitted luggage

Historic Context

After more than half a century since inception, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster continues to be listed at the top of premier collector and expert lists as one of the most important and iconic sports cars ever constructed. The Gullwing and Roadster models created important milestones of excellence when first released and have remained eternally ensconced at center stage of virtually every premier collection throughout the world. Originally released in 1954 with production culminating in 1957, the gullwing arrived as a triumph of engineering and design, followed three years later by the roadster. Delivered with production fuel-injection (first of its kind), and achieving the world's fastest top speed for the time, the 300 SL (S-Sport, L-Light) confirmed Max Hoffman’s challenge to Mercedes-Benz engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut – to build a Gran-Prix car tailored for road use.

Despite the impressive cost when new, demand for the gullwing was high, yet the growing US market, especially on the west coast, wanted unique cars with open configuration, motivating Hoffman to once again challenge Mercedes-Benz to build the 1957 roadster. Far more than a topless 300SL, the roadster was entirely unique with literally every part developed separately from the gullwing. This new set of engineering specifications allowed the roadster to develop with significant improvements learned from the shortcomings of the gullwing platform. The roadster was fortified with additional structural frame members and the side structure improved for traditionally hinged doors, allowing for larger openings and a great deal more ease with cockpit entry and exit. Further structural improvements resulted in greater torsional rigidity and better handling via single-pivot swing-axle rear suspension, which improved the former gullwing bump oversteer. Other improvements such as roll-up windows, increased horsepower, and softer coil springs made for a much more enjoyable ride without compromising the sporting nature of the race-bred original.

Under the hood, the 2,996 cc SOHC engine was, like the gullwing, mounted at a 45-degree angle, allowing for a dramatically lower hood line, fitted with Bosch mechanical fuel-injection, delivering 225bhp at 5,800 rpm. Coupled to a close ratio 4-speed manual transmission, the 300SL roadster was not only a highly capable road car, the manners and comfort of the 4-wheel independent suspension allowed for impressive touring, particularly on high-speed roads where a 300SL roadster could easily achieve 150mph, an impressive figure even by modern standards. Despite the $11,000.00 price tag (more than the gullwing), roadster sales were formidable, resulting in the replacement of the gullwing as the premier halo sports car from Mercedes-Benz. Typical of Mercedes-Benz, ongoing improvements were made as production proceeded including the addition of 4-wheel disc brakes in 1960 (beginning with chassis #002780), and the later series all-alloy engine block (beginning with chassis #003049) offered from the factory in fewer than 300 examples, as production was concluding in late 1962 and early 1963. The lighter alloy engine resulted in superior performance for an already impressive car, making alloy block roadsters among the most desirable for enthusiasts who enjoy participating in vintage tours and club events.

History of this Roadster

This extraordinary example combines the rarely seen merits of exceptional provenance and stunning factory colors, coupled with the pedigree of a comprehensive world-class restoration. The history of this example begins with Mercedes-Benz chassis number 198042.10.002576 assembled at the Stuttgart Works on June 20, 1960. Confirmed by copies of factory records accompanying the car, this 300SL roadster was prepared and finished in the one-off color DB662G “Uranium Yellow”, trimmed with black leather interior, and fitted with a matching black convertible top. The car departed the factory with engine 198980.10.002627, a steel block engine per the serial number designation for 1960 roadster production. At that time, the car was presented as a gift to Her Royal Highness Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of His Royal Highness Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the late, and last Shah of Iran.

After delivery, the car was used sparingly by the royal family, but as a letter documenting the history of the car indicates, the car experienced engine failure when the oil pan cracked while on a road trip to the Caspian Sea in 1962. Having lost oil, the steel block engine seized, rendering it useless to the traveling royals. The car was dispatched to Mercedes-Benz of Tehran where the proprietor would elect to purchase the car directly from the Royal Court. At this time, the more advanced all-alloy engines were now being fitted at the factory, allowing him to leverage his status as a dealer and arrange for the engine to be air freighted from Mercedes-Benz, Stuttgart to Tehran, where trained technicians at the dealership would install the new engine. The new engine, stamped with the original engine number, was mistakenly transposed two prefix digits on the engine designation sequence. This, along with the details of the first owner history, is documented in a statement of facts letter.

Recognizing the rarity and uniqueness of this 300SL, he retained the car for an astonishing 50 years, accumulating miles sparingly including a 1978 drive from Tehran, Iran to Paris, France likely to preserve the destiny of the car, a prudent effort to liberate both owner and car as political unrest heated up in Iran. The car remained in France until he and the car emigrated to Southern California in 1980. In 2012, the car, then showing just 20,000 kms also documented, was sold to the third and current owner. In 2013, the third and consigning owner commissioned experts at Hjeltness Restorations, Escondido, CA to restore the car. The process would consume nearly 5 years of painstaking research and restoration, beginning by photographing the car to document the significant originality exhibited prior to the restoration. Careful disassembly, reassembly, and precise application of all correct finishes and components were lavished to the highest professional standard. Copies of Hjeltess invoices accompanying the car total more than $600,000. During the restoration, the car was photographed showing the various stages of assembly, detailed finish work, and component preparation. Additionally, after the restoration was completed, regular services, detailing, and refinement to the car was performed by Silver Star Mercedes Service, Escondido, CA, also documented by accompanying invoices.

Current Condition and Presentation

Today this rare and beautiful 300SL roadster presents with superlative cosmetics and exceptional mechanical continuity befitting a premier vehicle of this status. The restoration was performed to a level worthy of any premier concours d’elegance with attention to detail that exemplifies the standards of the highest levels of judging. The unique Uranium Yellow paint was formulated with reference to the original finish and uniformly applied to all panels, inner segments, and undersides per factory application. The finish is breathtaking, smooth, and lustrously deep with a unique and colorful dynamism that captures the spirit of these extraordinary cars. The doors, hood, and trunk gaps are beautifully tailored, in keeping with the high standards of original Mercedes-Benz quality, opening, and shutting properly with characteristic German precision. The exterior emblems and lenses are exemplary, with excellent chrome throughout. The matching painted wheels and wheel covers are beautifully finished contrasting the sporty Michelin black-wall tires. The low fender line, sculpted speed blisters, and race-inspired side vents deliver a powerful presence to this ground-breaking design, affirmed by the superlative restoration. The car is outfitted with a rare factory hardtop that has been finished in gloss black with exceptional trim, correct 300SL emblems, and excellent fit when mounted in place.

The interior continues to carry the chalice of excellence with finishes and material quality achieved to concours levels in both detail and overall presentation. The speedometer indicates 23,524 kilometers, a figure consistent with the statements of the long term, second owner that support these miles to be accurate to the car. The beautifully contoured leather seating surfaces have been properly stitched and applied with equal care to the leather and distinctive Mercedes-Benz perforated insert material. The seats have a supple feel, firmly supported by correctly fitted inner material, not overstuffed as often seen in restored cars. The workmanship throughout the interior is of premier quality with excellent feel to the beautifully fitted leather topped dash, pleated door panels, and covered door sills. The dashboard is simply gorgeous, with vividly clear instrumentation, excellent numeric indication, crystal clear lenses, and finely restored details including the colorful center gauge cluster. The black leather surfaces throughout the interior offer a striking contrast to the exterior, notably so with the dashboard finish and colorful Uranium Yellow band accenting the black and chrome features. A period Becker Benicia MW/UKW radio completes the dashboard. The various detailed interior switches, levers, and knobs are all beautifully finished including the light ivory steering wheel which matches the gear shift knob and horn center emblem. Inside the trunk, the condition is consistent with materials used in the interior including a stunning set of matched luggage finished with correct materials, inside and out, and a correctly finished spare tire.

Under the hood, the beautifully prepared fuel-injected 300SL engine is a captivating example of sculpted artistry and mechanical excellence. Here too the restoration is performed to the highest levels, while the mechanical condition matches the impressive visuals achieved during restoration. The engine compartment is ready in every respect to stand up to the scrutiny of judging for top-tier concours events. As noted in the history of the car and documented in the letter with statements of fact from the second 50-year term owner, the all-alloy engine block supplied by Mercedes-Benz in 1962 is finished with authentic components including the correct fuel injection and all engine management features. Correct finishes, proper fittings, and attention to detail is evident throughout the engine compartment.

The car starts on command with typical allowances for cold engine starts and proper warm up procedure before operation. The engine is very well tuned with no fuel-injection issues, delivering precise throttle response when pressed into action. The gearbox engages easily in all gears offering smooth shifts and a properly sprung clutch. Though post-restoration miles have been minimal, the car operates smoothly and confidently under general road use. The chassis and underbody components are yet again exceptionally prepared with no visible signs of age or road use evident throughout the chassis and mechanical components. The integrity of the restoration is evident in the consistent, inspiring, and impressive value of the original design blended with the mastery of the very best in contemporary restoration artistry. The car is accompanied by copies of restoration documents, a copy of the letter from the second, 50-year term owner, documentation supporting the original build, photos of the restoration, and a car cover.

One of the most exotic cars available when new, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was a performance leader in all respects, brimming with innovative features, many of which would later become hallmarks of modern engineering. Today these extraordinarily beautiful and exclusive cars continue to appeal to collectors and enthusiasts for the same reasons when Royalty heralded their presence. The inherent beauty, exceptional build quality, and ready acceptance to any vintage road event or world concours d’elegance further confirms their desirability as enjoyably usable performance cars. This stunning example is ready to live up to the scrutiny of the finest Mercedes-Benz experts, delivering on all the promises of superb luxury sport motoring as one of the finest Mercedes-Benz sports cars ever produced.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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